Senator's motion condemning abortion safe zones slammed

Fraser Anning in the Senate. Source: AAP

Queensland senator Fraser Anning has failed to condemn NSW's new abortion safe zone laws which he says follow the 'socialist state' of Victoria.

A crossbench senator has been labelled "cruel" and "insensitive" over his push to condemn abortion safe zones in NSW.

Katter's Australian Party senator Fraser Anning said NSW had followed the "socialist state" of Victoria by passing laws to provide 150 metre safe zones outside abortion clinics to prevent abuse and harassment.

His Senate motion condemning NSW parliament for passing the bill was defeated 34-17, with government senators given a conscience vote.

"These zones are nothing more than anti-free speech areas," Senator Anning told parliament on Monday.

"Worse still, they target the nature of these exclusion zones which only exclude those peacefully defending the rights to life of the unborn."

Independent Derryn Hinch took aim at Senator Anning's "cruel and insensitive antics" before reminding him of Peter James Knight who murdered a Melbourne abortion clinic security guard in 2001.

Senator Hinch said the safe zones protected women from ratbags and religious zealots who target women at their most vulnerable.

"This motion is an obscenity," Senator Hinch said.

Greens senator Janet Rice said women exercising their choice to have an abortion shouldn't have to run the gauntlet of aggressive opponents.

"We don't need another man like Senator Anning chiming in to challenge women's ability to access health services safely," she said.

"No reasonable person can call this repulsive behaviour free speech or protest."

Government ministers Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Matt Canavan, James McGrath and Zed Seselja voted in favour of the motion.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association-linked Labor senators Don Farrell, Jacinta Collins, Chris Ketter and Deborah O'Neill didn't vote.

Neither did Pauline Hanson or her One Nation colleague Peter Georgiou.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh also drew on the 2001 murder, saying safe zones reflected a history of harassment.

"These senators do not understand the value of safe zones in ensuring that women have the right to choose," he said.

Source AAP

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